Looming
large with a band
of hope

Jack Fozard, 10, has brittle bone disease.
Jack Fozard, 10, has brittle bone disease.
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Jack Fozard suffers from brittle bones and now he using loom bands to help other children. Catherine Scott reports.

Jack Fozard is putting loom bands, the latest craze sweeping the playground, to good use.

Ten-year-old Jack, from West Park, Leeds, was diagnosed with brittle bone disease as a baby and has broken more than 20 bones in his short life.

As a result of his condition he also suffers from arthritis in his fingers and wrists which means he struggles to hold a pen for very long.

When everyone started making loom band bracelets, Jack thought he’d have a go at making a pencil holder.

“He uses grips at school, but sometimes he finds them too thick,” says his mum Emma.

“This one he designs just slips over his pencils and pens, and because of the material, they don’t slip.”

Kind-hearted Jack started creating things out of loom bands as a way of raising money for The Children’s Hospital Charity, which supports The Children’s Hospital, Sheffield, where he is treated.

“He set up a stall in our front garden, selling the bands in blue and yellow – the colours of the charity. As soon as people realised he was supporting the charity they were really interested. There were even Police Community Support Officers who were buying them off him”

Jack raised more than £230 in just a couple of days despite being in a wheelchair after breaking his leg.

“Jack absolutely loves going to The Children’s Hospital. The staff and doctors there are amazing and his treatment has been brilliant.”

Jack was diagnosed with brittle bone disease when he was 14 months old after he tried to walk and his thigh bone broke.

“He had been slow to crawl,” recalls Emma. “And then when he walked he just collapsed. We rushed him to hospital and at first they thought it was something we had done, but then he was diagnosed with brittle bones.”

It means that unlike other children he cannot join in many sports or go on a trampoline as the likely result will be a broken bone.

“He is amazing,” says his mum Emma, “He does get frustrated as he would love to play sport but he can’t join in at school and yet he can’t join in disabled sports as he isn’t in a wheelchair; there just doesn’t seem to be anything for him in Leeds. He really wanted to join in basketball but we just couldn’t let him. He does go to scouts but even there he is worried that he will get knocked.

“He is so brave when he breaks a bone, I would be howling but he just takes it.

“He has two squashed vertebrae which causes him a lot of pain. It got to the point he was waking up in the night screaming.

“Then three years ago doctors at the hospital started him on IV treatment, and that has helped him immeasurably.”

Jack attends Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary every three months. It was while in hospital that he got the idea to help other children.

“He saw lots of children in wheelchairs and worse than him and he said he just wanted to do something to help them. That’s just so Jack.”

Jack now wants to create special bands for brittle bones sufferers to wear so people will know about their condition in the event of an accident. He also has further fund-raising hopes for 2015 – and wants to climb the Blackpool Tower.

“He said he wanted to climb the Eiffel Tower” added Emma. “But I told him, let’s take it one step at a time.”

Jack’s two younger brothers Jamie, nine, and five year old Josh are unaffected by the condition but Emma and her husband, Lee, have been warned any children Jack has could be worse off than him.

The Children’s Hospital is a national and world leading specialist in brittle bone disease. In 2009, the Charity funded a £75,000 DXA bone density scanner which helps to diagnose and treat the condition. Children come from all over the world to receive the specialist care offered at the hospital.

David Vernon-Edwards, director at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Jack has raised £234 for the charity, which is amazing. His fantastic contribution will go towards our Make it Better appeal, which aims to raise £10m regionally by 2016 to transform the Children’s Hospital into a world class facility to match the world class care given. We couldn’t do what we do without people like Jack.”

Twitter@ypcscott